house fly

How to get rid of flies in the house

Flies seem to buzz around our kitchens all summer long. They are attracted by smells coming from items such as leftovers, rotting fruit and open food containers. When they sit on open food they leave bacteria behind that can transmit diseases. A single house fly can carry over a million bacteria.

Start outdoors

Your first line of defense is to deal with flies before they even come into the home. Hang a fly trap from a tree in the backyard in summer and you will be surprised how many flies you trap. A top pick for an outdoor trap is the Flies Be Gone non-toxic fly trap. You simply pour the  formula into the trap,  add water and hang it in direct sunlight. When it warms up in the sun, the food scents drift out of the trap and the flies can’t resist it. Each bag catches up to 20,000 flies.

Get rid of what attracts them inside

Getting rid of what attracts the flies into your house is your second line of defense:

  • Cover food
  • clear away leftovers
  • wash dishes straight after use
  • remove uneaten pet food
  • keep refuse bins tightly covered

Keep them out with barriers

Using screens on doors and windows is probably one of the most effective ways of keeping flies out. If you use screens, make sure they are regularly inspected for holes.

Natural ways to Trap them

Homemade fly papers

You need: 1/2 cup corn syrup, 1/4 cup sugar, brown paper, scissors, thread.
Instructions: Cardboard from a cereal box is a good thickness. Cut the paper into 2 inch wide strips. Punch a hole at the top and put the thread through so you can hang it up. Mix the corn syrup and sugar and coat one side of each strip. A bowl under the paper will catch the drips. When dry, hang the strips and flies will stick to them.

Apple cider vinegar trap

You need: 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, a glass jar, liquid detergent, paper for a funnel.
Instructions: Heat up half a cup of apple cider vinegar and pour it into the jar.  Add a drop or two of liquid detergent – it alters the surface tension so flies will land but can’t fly away.   Apple cider vinegar is very attractive to flies because of the fermented apple smell.  Make a funnel with a piece of paper and put it into the mouth of the jar.  You can tape it to the jar. The flies will go into the jar and drown in the vinegar.

Ultra violet trap

ultraviolet fly trapYou can go more high tech with an ultra violet trap. The ultra violet attracts the flies and as they sit on the trap, they are killed by its action mechanism. Flowtron’s lantern-style insect killer is a bestseller on Amazon.

Translucent window fly trap

Another effective way to trap flies is to attach translucent rectangles to your windows. Apply one on a window where flies are active and you will soon see them adhering to it . When one is full of flies just peel it off and throw it away.   Catchmaster Bug & Fly Clear Window Traps – 3 Packs of 4 Traps sell for just over $6. This is a cheap method and less unsightly than hanging strips.

Swat them

A fly swatter is another cheap method you can use to kill flies in the house. (although my swatting is usually miss rather than hit – I end up swinging around wildly and they always seem to escape). A fly zapper is a bit more high tech as it works with batteries. Swing in the direction of flies with an Elucto Electric Bug Zapper and the electric shock waves will destroy them in a second.

Repel them


There are many plants that can help keep flies away from your house.  Some of the herbs that act as fly repellents are basil, lavender, bay leaf, mint, rue, tansy and marigold. Plant some of them outside your kitchen door or place them on a kitchen windowsill. You can even make an anti-fly potpourri by mixing bay leaves, eucalyptus and cloves together, putting the mixture in netting bags and hanging them in areas frequented by flies.

Essential oil sprays

Essential oils, such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, and lemon grass, not only smell good but they also work effectively in keeping away house flies. Spraying such oils in your living area, bedroom, or even kitchen will help to keep them free of flies and they also work as a room freshener.
You need: 10-12 drops of  essential oil, hot water (1/4 cup) and a spray bottle.
Instructions: Pour the drops of essential oil into the spray bottle and pour the hot water over it, mixing well. Spray this around doorways and windows. You can also spray it directly at the flies.

Cloves, cayenne pepper or cinnamon

Flies cannot stand the scent of cloves. This recipe uses them together with lemon, another scent that repels them.
You need: A lemon, 20 cloves
Instructions: Cut the lemon in half and poke 10 cloves into each half. Poke with the pointed part of the clove. Place the lemon halves on a plate in an area frequented by flies. This can even make a centerpiece for a table, especially when eating outdoors. Flies also dislike cayenne pepper and cinnamon so they can be added to sprays.


Well, there you have it – many different ways to deal with flies. Using a combination of some of the above methods will soon make your home a fly free zone.

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